Kings slump to third as Cot­ton in­spires Wild­cats win

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Cricket - BRAD ELBOROUGH

THE Perth Wild­cats will go in to the fi­nal round of NBL ac­tion on top of the lad­der af­ter a 95-86 come-from-be­hind win in over­time against the Syd­ney Kings.

The Wild­cats and Bryce Cot­ton took a long time to shrug off the nine-day break since their win over the Illawarra Hawks.

Cot­ton scored his first point 71 sec­onds be­fore three-quar­ter-time. But he dropped 14 points in over­time to fin­ish with a game-high 27 points. Be­fore that, An­gus Brandt had kept the Cats in the game, with 19 points to three-quar­ter­time; 13 of them in the third quar­ter; and nearly all of them in the paint against An­drew Bogut. Not that Bogut had a bad game. His 16 points and 15 re­bounds means he will go in to the fi­nals with a dou­ble­dou­ble against ev­ery team in the com­pe­ti­tion.

What po­si­tion the Kings and the Cats go in to the fi­nals se­ries is still yet to be worked out.

Perth hold a one-win and per­cent­age ad­van­tage over both Syd­ney and Mel­bourne United and will face the lat­ter and Ade­laide next week­end.

If they can win in Mel­bourne, they will fin­ish the sea­son on top of the lad­der with home court ad­van­tage in the fi­nals, re­gard­less of what hap­pens against the 36ers.

The Kings, who dropped from first to third with the loss in Perth, will play their fi­nal game against the Cairns Taipans, with sec­ond spot still a chance. Mel­bourne also play the Taipans be­fore host­ing Perth. Ade­laide still has plenty to play for also, po­ten­tially need­ing to beat Perth on Fri­day night to stop Bris­bane from knock­ing them out of fourth spot. Scores were tied 77-77 at full-time de­spite Syd­ney hav­ing all of the early run­ning.

Kevin Lisch and Jerome Ran­dle kept a tight leash on Cot­ton to open up a big early lead. Perth scored only 12 points in the first quar­ter.

Jesse Wagstaff was the only Cat trou­bling Syd­ney’s de­fence, with six points.

Bryce Cot­ton of the Wild­cats.

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